Elton John’s 10 Most Legendary Concerts


Elton John has established himself throughout greater than 50 years of performing as one of the dynamic performers within the historical past of music.

From stage designs to lighting and costumes, John’s concert events have been feasts for the eyes. Nonetheless, these parts by no means overwhelmed the music. With one of many richest catalogs ever created by a solo artist, John has at all times had loads of materials to work with. In live performance, he is introduced these songs to life, delivering deeper instrumentation, highly effective emotion and an unmatched stage of showmanship.

Merely put, these have at all times been must-go occasions. See for your self: We have rounded up his 10 most legendary concert events, presenting them in chronological order under.

Aug. 25, 1970 on the Troubadour, Los Angeles

Elton John’s first concert on American soil was the stuff of legend, a powerhouse efficiency that introduced his arrival on the musical panorama. He took the stage on Aug. 25, 1970 in entrance of roughly 300 individuals on the Troubadour in West Hollywood, and proceeded to blow the viewers away along with his showmanship. At varied factors, John threw his physique within the air, kicked his piano bench over and fell to his knees whereas performing. “It was simply all methods go,” he later recalled, wanting again on that evening. “Nothing was not possible. You’re engaged on adrenaline and the sheer reality that you just’re successful.” A report within the Los Angeles Occasions the subsequent day predicted that John would turn out to be “one in all rock’s largest and most necessary stars.” They had been proper.

Feb. 5, 1972 on the Royal Pageant Corridor, London

John was churning out materials at a prolific charge early in his profession, releasing his first 5 studio albums in simply three years. The tempo was so quick that he barely had time to correctly promote an LP earlier than the subsequent one was introduced. Living proof: John started 1972 touring behind Madman Across the Water, but nearly instantly beginning mixing in materials that may arrive later that yr on Honky Chateau. This live performance, held on the prestigious Royal Pageant Corridor perched on the banks of the River Thames, featured many notable reside debuts. Followers in attendance that evening witnessed the primary performances of 9 songs which would seem on Honky Chateau, together with “Honky Tonk,” “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” and the now-iconic “Rocket Man (I Assume It’s Going To Be a Lengthy, Lengthy Time).”

Nov. 28, 1974 at Madison Sq. Backyard, New York

This wasn’t John’s first present at Madison Sq. Backyard (that befell in 1973), nevertheless it’s maybe his most memorable. He carried out a set boasting such traditional tunes as “Bennie and the Jets,” “Candle within the Wind,” “Daniel” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Street.” Nonetheless, the evening’s largest second got here when John welcomed his pal John Lennon to hitch him on stage. The looks stemmed from a guess: When Elton sang on Lennon’s tune “No matter Will get You Via the Evening,” he made the previous Beatle swear he’d carry out with him if the tune hit No. 1 in America – and it did. So, Lennon joined Elton at MSG, performing three songs: “No matter Will get You Via the Evening,” plus the Beatles classics “Lucy within the Sky With Diamonds” and “I Noticed Her Standing There.” Sadly, this might show to be the final concert performance of Lennon’s lifetime.

Oct. 25, 1975 at Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles

In a profession that has featured many distinctive costumes, the visuals from John’s 1975 efficiency at Dodger Stadium rank amongst his most well-known. In truth, the sequined baseball uniform from that evening grew to become so iconic that it was utilized in lots of the posters for the 2019 biopic, Rocketman. In fact, the outfit would by no means have attained such legendary standing if the efficiency had been boring. Fortunately, “boring” just isn’t a phrase in John’s vocabulary. He opened the evening with solo renditions of “Your Track” and “I Want You to Flip To” earlier than being joined by his band for such notable favorites as “Border Track,” “Take Me to the Pilot” and “Levon.” After a quick break – and a dressing up turn into the aforementioned Dodgers uniform – John continued wowing the group, delivering greater than three hours of music in complete. The live performance additionally included two Beatles covers. (Coincidentally, they had been the newest act to have performed the well-known venue.) Bernie Taupin and tennis star Billie Jean King additionally made visitor appearances, however the evening was unquestionably Elton John’s. “My fondest reminiscence was the electrical energy from the group,” he stated decades later. “The vitality was palpable — you might really feel it vibrating out of your toes!”

Might 28, 1979 at Rossiya Live performance Corridor, Moscow

John made history in each a musical and political kind when he grew to become the primary Western rock star to play behind Russia’s Iron Curtain. The presentation was sparse, simply John and his piano, with no backing band supporting his efficiency save for percussionist Ray Cooper. (Appropriately, John was supporting his A Single Man album.) He owned the stage, profitable over a crowd that was made up of each followers and members of the KGB and Communist get together. Footage from the efficiency would seem within the documentary To Russia … With Elton, whereas the official reside recording of the live performance was lastly launched on 2020’s Stay From Moscow 1979 album.

Sept. 13, 1980 at Central Park, New York

You’ve by no means seen a grown man play “Your Track” whereas sporting a Donald Duck costume? Effectively, you then clearly weren’t among the many 400,000 followers who crammed Central Park to look at Elton carry out in 1980. Whereas the duck swimsuit stays essentially the most memorable picture from that day (how may it not be?), John initially started his set in a military-style outfit, adorned with piano keys. Highlights included renditions of “Tiny Dancer,” “Saturday Evening’s Alright for Combating” and “Bennie and the Jets.” John even coated Lennon’s “Think about” – maybe hoping the previous Beatles star may hear it from his close by residence on the Dakota. The evening ended with John in his duck swimsuit, performing a rocking rendition of Little Richard’s “Good Golly Miss Molly.”

Dec. 14, 1986 at Sydney Leisure Centre, Sydney

Elton John discovered himself at a profession crossroads when he visited Australia in 1986. Years of performing had left his vocal cords broken, with polyps which might require surgical procedure. Regardless of this, John pushed ahead with the trek, at the same time as he coughed up phlegm and blood on an nearly nightly foundation. His voice sounded rawer than ever, nevertheless it additionally had an depth that added deeper emotional resonance to the fabric. Backed by a full symphony orchestra underneath the course of James Newton Howard, John delivered passionate performances on the tour, culminating on this last cease in Sydney. The December efficiency can be captured on Elton John Live In Australia With the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, launched the next yr.

April 26, 1989 at Area di Verona, Verona, Italy

A timeless expertise performing in an historical venue, John took the stage in a stunning Roman amphitheater in-built 30 AD. John’s setlist included such then-new materials as “I Don’t Wanna Go on With You Like That” (from 1988’s Reg Strikes Again), to traditional hits like “Sorry Appears to Be the Hardest Phrase,” “Daniel” and “Candle within the Wind.” John even provided new takes on his tunes, together with a soulful model of “Unhappy Songs (Say So A lot)”. “With my backing singers, we injected some Gospel Soul into ‘Unhappy Songs,’ bringing the spirit of the Deep South right into a 2,000-year-old amphitheater!” John later recalled.

Nov. 25, 1995 at Estadio Do Flamengo, Rio De Janeiro

Given Elton John’s flamboyance and the colourful tradition of Rio, you knew his first tour of Brazil was certain to ship some priceless moments. As John later recalled, followers “had been launched with the drop of a curtain right into a dancing, flag-waving, multi-hour sing-a-long frenzy!” With a crowd of greater than 100,000 individuals hanging off of each notice, John rocked by way of lots of his best-known tunes together with “I Guess That’s Why They Name It the Blues,” “Don’t Let the Solar Go Down on Me” and “Bennie and the Jets.” Vitality within the stadium was so excessive that evening that John got here again for 3 encores, solely to be greeted by rapturous applause with each.

March 25, 2007 at Madison Sq. Backyard, New York

John has loved many memorable nights at Madison Sq. Backyard over time, however this efficiency held particular which means. Not solely was it his sixtieth efficiency on the legendary venue, nevertheless it coincided with John’s sixtieth birthday. The set included visitor appearances by Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg and Bernie Taupin, in addition to a recorded message by former President Invoice Clinton. John additionally took the chance to delve into a few of his less-performed tracks, enjoying “The place to Now St. Peter?,” “Excessive Flying Fowl” and “Ballad of a Effectively-Recognized Gun” for the primary time in additional than a decade. (In truth, “Effectively-Recognized Gun” hadn’t been carried out since 1972!) A two-disc DVD of the live performance titled Elton 60 – Stay at Madison Sq. Backyard arrived later that yr.

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